Kenny Rogers apparently likes to build almost as much as he likes to sing.
He bought two of the 16 lots in the first phase of that private new enclave bordering Beverly Hills known as Beverly Park and is planning to build a home there with a sunken tennis court and cabana, swimming pool and pool house, guest house, 300-foot-long driveway, large porte-cochere with fountains, and a main house with about 20,000 square feet of space.
That's not as large as the Knoll, Rogers' last Beverly Hills-area estate, which he sold to Marvin Davis, Denver oilman and co-owner of 20th Century Fox Film Corp., for a tidy $22.5 million. The 11-acre Knoll has a mansion that is about 30,000 square feet in size. However, the Knoll was built in the 1950s. "Now Kenny has the chance to build a brand new place for today's life style," Brian Adler, who sold the lots to Rogers, said.
Adler, a limited partner in the Beverly Park project who maintains his brokerage affiliations with Merrill Lynch Realty, wouldn't tell exactly how much Rogers paid for the lots but hinted, "He bought the premier lot and with the other lot, it was the equivalent of buying four regular lots."
The three lots left in Phase 1 are priced at close to $1 million each. The 325-acre development just north of Beverly Hills, off Benedict Canyon Road, will have 76 estate sites, most two to three acres in size, when it is completed. Rogers bought a total of almost seven acres, said Adler, and about three of those acres are buildable.
Think that will be an undertaking? Not for Rogers, who just completed work on his 350-acre Georgia ranch. He built what Adler calls "one of the most incredible horse facilities" there, "a 70,000-square-foot horse barn" with 50 stalls, an indoor swimming pool (for the horses!), three guest apartments (for people) and an official-size, indoor riding ring.
The property also has two lakes, a lake house, two clay tennis courts, two guest houses and a main house. But guess what? Rogers no sooner finished building these things than he put his ranch on the market.
It's for sale at $11 million. Maybe it was too big for him, his wife, Marianne, and their young son Christopher. Or maybe Rogers likes to build and sell. If he ever got tired of his career in entertainment, he could always switch to real estate development.
He hardly ever lived in the Knoll, which he extensively remodeled before selling to Davis about 18 months ago. He also remodeled Liongate, a Bel-Air mansion that he sold two years ago this September for $6.9 million, reportedly to Mark Hughes, founder and president of Herbalife.
And he remodeled a Malibu beach cottage that he sold two years ago for $3 million to Dr. William G. Rader, KABC-TV's med/psych personality.
He will probably be glad to be back in his own Beverly Hills-area home, though, because he has been living in rented quarters here since last fall when he leased a Beverly Hills estate for about $20,000 a month.
The "Hot Property" item that ran on Memorial Day about the MGM movie "Rose Marie," starring Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald, brought back many memories to Joseph M. Newman and Walter Strohm, but one of these memories was that it was filmed at Lake Tahoe, not Lake Arrowhead.
"Not one frame was shot at Lake Arrowhead," Strohm, who worked on the 1936-released film, said. "The entire picture was made at Lake Tahoe."
Newman, who was the assistant director, agreed. "The totem pole was constructed at Emerald Bay at Tahoe, and we built an entire French Canadian trading post village on the banks. We never even considered Arrowhead."
Moreland Development Co. claimed that the movie was shot on its Lake Arrowhead residential construction site, but "The Saga of Lake Tahoe," a book first published in 1957 and written by Edward B. Scott, describes filming of the movie there.
Jimmy Stewart probably has the last two words, though, because he was in the film. Asked where the movie was filmed, he replied, "Lake Tahoe."
Free trip to Big Bear? Sounds like a hype, but developers of Viking Estates, a condo project on a secluded lakeside peninsula protected by an electronic gate system, say they started flying in prospective buyers last weekend "at no cost, no obligation."
Seems Donez Development Co. was having trouble finding people willing to pay the condo prices, which go from $249,000 to $363,000, but include private boat docks and use of a $1-million health and clubhouse facility. Nearby weekender cabins typically sell from $80,000 to $150,000. In two years, the developers had sold only six of the 32 units. So they came up with the 2 1/2 days-of-wining-and-dining scheme.
Don't rush to sign up, though. The lucky recipients, all homeowners, are invited from Houston, San Diego, Los Angeles and Palm Springs by a marketing research group according to a prospect's income (more than $150,000 a year) and value of existing home (in excess of $200,000). The first weekend, recipients included some folks from NBC's "Hill Street Blues."
Celebrity interest isn't surprising to Violet Hunt-Swatling, director of sales and creator of the program. She says that many of the well-to-do and famous who once frequented Arrowhead are now moving to Big Bear. Among the famous she claims have been seen frequently at Big Bear are the Jacksons, Beach Boys, Rich Little and Shirley Jones.
If you're looking for land in Malibu, there is a 16-acre parcel that has been approved by the Coastal Commission for a 16,000-square-foot mansion designed by architect Peter Choate to include a tennis court, swimming pool and eight-car garage.
"The owner, an investor, was going to build there and then bought a mansion in Holmby Hills and decided that one house was enough," Jeff Hyland of Alvarez, Hyland & Young in Beverly Hills said. Hyland has the $5-million listing, which he calls "the most fantastic piece of land I've ever been able to sell." He has been selling real estate for nine years.
"It has five acres that are level. That's what's rare in Malibu," he said, "and it has a quarter-mile-long private driveway and a view overlooking Malibu Pier from Point Dume to Palos Verdes."
Above it is the Serra Retreat House, built by the Franciscans in 1973 after the mansion on that property was destroyed in a 1970 brush fire. The Franciscans purchased the property from the estate of May Rindge, who with her husband, Frederick Hastings Rindge, owned 16,000 acres spanning 25 miles of Malibu coast.
There is also a nearby residential area known as Serra Retreat, said Hyland, that consists of 40 to 50 homes and 60-foot eucalyptuses. "One guy has put $8 million to $10 million in one of the homes there," he added.